The Biz Side Gig – Princess Scallywag & Essential Business Communication

Princess Scallywag

written by Sarah Colgate

Business Tips for 2024

June 16, 2022

The Side Gig – Princess Scallywag And The Importance Of Communication.

As I have said in previous blogs, I have always had a side gig. That is a little business offline or online as a hobby or passion. My first side gig was in year 4 at school where I sold my brother’s smurf figures to the kids on the playground for extra money. I remember being in my teenage years and writing down side gig business ideas in my journal. 

So this idea of a side gig has been a thing with me, forever. 

For some reason or another, I have never ever felt like I was satisfied or relaxed in my job / role / career aka the paid gig. That uneasy or restless feeling filters through into my creativity, so I have always continuously and subconsciously looked for new opportunities albeit business, products and experiences. Over the years, I have consumed books and articles on business and marketing, then written endless business plans and strategies. My brain has always been filled with creativity for commercial purposes. 

Between 2010 and 2017, I worked part time from home setting up and running attraction passes across Australia for a business based in Sydney. I had a baby so the at home and part time gig suited our life at the time. In some ways I enjoyed the part time aspect of the job as it allowed flexibility around babies. But for me, the actual role I had did not challenge me academically or creatively fulfill my need to be in business. It was pretty simple and I was able to achieve a lot in the time I had, but it lacked challenge and connection.  The owner was a nice guy with no passion and no drive for his business, so he did not engage with the team or involve us in any way that allowed us to be creative, grow the business or flourish as individuals.

So I had a lot of space and time to create new businesses, work on ideas I had and work with friends to grow their businesses. I have a need to be in business, be involved in business or be creative in a marketing sense in business

After my daughter was born in 2011, I jumped into business with my sister-in-law who had created a children’s boutique called Princess Scallywag . Back then it was a hair accessories business for little babies and girls, mostly sold at markets and through word of mouth. My sister in law ran it from her house in regional NSW. I pitched to her that I could build her online sales and manage her online store. This would include managing the stock, listings, promotion, socials and digital marketing of the website. That’s where my skills lay and hers were in creating beautiful handmade products for her clients. My sister in law was very keen. She had plans to make her business bigger and more successful so my timing was spot on.  For me too, I felt it was my ideal set up, to create an online business for my sister-in-law, no product or handling from my side. I could help her out and have something to do while at home with my baby. I loved the idea of it and was super excited to get going.

Princess Scallywag & Communication

However, somewhere along the way my sister in law thought it would be better if I supplied all the products on the website and she focused on markets and supplying retail shops. 

Therefore within 4 months I was running the websiteFacebook sales and creating all my own products to sell. Every night sitting in my study with the hot glue gun making bows, clips and headbands. This was in addition to my real part time paid job and looking after two babies. I have always been a crafty creative type, but this was quickly getting out of hand. I loved the creativity of making the pieces but it got to be bigger than Ben Hur. 

My original vision for this was a little bit of website work an digital marketing helping out my sister in law and honing my skills, but I ended up with a full fledged business that was actually competing directly with my sister in law. Within a year I sold off as much as I could of ready made stock and then sold off all the designs and supplies to a mum in Brisbane who was keen to set up her own business doing a similar thing. My return on investment was definitely a minus however it was a great life experience where I learnt a bunch of new skills and kept my mind busy while I was raising my babies.

Princess Scallywag & Communication

I have realised over time that no business is a failure. Financially it may not make sense at that moment in time however in terms of life experience and learning for the next step every business is valuable. Every experience is valuable in some way and it’s important to look at each experience and what you get out of it or learn from it.

A key takeaway from this experience is COMMUNICATION, clear concise and honest communication. I believe everyone in business needs to understand how important communication is in each and every business interaction. I have learnt this in so many business situations and experiences over and over again. 

Ensure you communicate clearly when you are working with others. It’s essential. Clear communication will ensure you are all on the same page and have a mutual agreement before going forward. If you don’t feel like everyone is on the same page, start asking questions. Seek clarification. 

Quite often when we are starting out in a new venture we are excited and just want to get into it. So we skim the details and head for the good stuff of getting in and getting it done. However, for the future you it’s worthwhile to stop and discuss or write down what you are doing, where you are going and what agreements are in place.  In this experience I didn’t do that. My sister in law and I had spoken many many times about how it might work but there was no set agreement. I went with the flow to make things easier and so we could get on with it. Then I ended up with mountains of crafts supplies, I wasn’t doing what I really wanted to do and I had nearly a full time gig. 

Looking back at what I would do differently is; 

  1. Have a clear picture about what I want to do. 
  2. Know how much time and money I have to invest in the endeavour, even in a side gig.
  3. Identify the tasks or role I will be doing.
  4. Identify a review period for your role, payment and participation. 
  5. Communicate my understanding and my perceptions of this endeavours is to the other party and discuss each aspect of it if needed, negotiate then make an agreement. 
  6. Put the agreement in writing so it can be referred back to when needed. 
  7. Set the review date in your calendar and be aware of how things are going along the way and communicate that to all involved.

A little more info on communication –  This will prevent surprises when someone wants to change or terminate the agreement. However I have to admit I have had business partners that I see on a monthly basis and update them on what’s happening and how I am going but if they are not interested or listening it makes no difference. They are still shocked when you want to get out or change the structure. So to the best of your ability communicate, keep them updated and ensure you follow up in writing. 

You are never too busy to communicate, it’s the most important part of being in business.

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